experience & dedication...

Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
Fax: (603) 297-2866

Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

Back to Articles of Interest

The Legal Corner: The Legal Corner: Prenuptial Agreements

November 30, 2010

Recently, I received a call from a friend asking me to write up a prenuptial agreement for him and his fiancé. My initial question was why he thought that he needed one. He told me that he and his wife are no longer “young” and that they had both accumulated assets that they wanted to maintain separately. He indicated that his wife had started a business that she wanted kept separately from the marital assets. Additionally, he told me that he expected an inheritance that his family wanted to make sure went directly to him. He indicated that he and his fiancé were perfectly happy with one another but both agreed that a prenuptial agreement made sense for their particular relationship. While prenuptial agreements are not for everybody, they can provide valuable security and peace of mind to people under certain circumstances.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract created by two people before they are married. The agreement usually lists the money, personal property, real estate, and any other valuable items that the individuals own. Disclosure of assets is essential to the enforceability of the agreement. The agreement usually also lists debts of each individual and indicates what obligations each individual will have with respect to these debts after the marriage.
Although most people think of prenuptial agreements as only for the wealthy, they can be valuable to others of lesser means under certain circumstances. For example, many people get married today with children from a previous relationship. A prenuptial agreement can define whether property will pass directly to children of a previous relationship upon one spouse’s death or be split in some way between the spouse and the children. If the couple does not have a prenuptial agreement, the surviving spouse will likely be entitled to a large portion of the estate.
These types of considerations also tie into estate planning issues and the importance of having a will. However, even if the individuals make wills which leave the bulk of their estates to their children, under New Hampshire law, the surviving spouse still has the right to elect to receive one-third of her spouse’s estate. A prenuptial agreement can resolve this issue if the couple wishes.
In addition to asset division upon a spouse’s death, there are many other uses for a prenuptial agreement such as:
(1)Defining the financial parameters of the spouses during the marriage;
(2)Specifying the rights of couples in the event of a divorce;
(3)Protecting one spouse from the debts of the other spouse; and
(4)Keeping real estate in one spouse’s family.
In short, prenuptial agreements are not simply for wealthy people who do not trust one another. They can provide important security and peace of mind to people under many different circumstances. Prenuptial agreements should not be a wedge between spouses, but rather a means to clarify issues before marriage, so as to avoid problems afterwards.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

Back to Articles of Interest

By: Edward D. Alkalay